Martin McGuinness has said he doesn’t regret running in the Irish presidential election despite receiving a raft of negative publicity over his IRA past.
Returning to Stormont as Deputy First Minister, he said he “fully expected” the backlash when he decided to run.
He told UTV: “I fully expected when I took the decision to stand that there would be elements of the media in Dublin and at least one other political party who would attempt to derail the campaign. But I don't think that it worked.”
Mr McGuinness said that the election highlighted that many of his critics were “about 10 years behind the rest of us in terms of advancements”.
He added that receiving 14% of the votes – leaving him third – was a “very clear advancement” and clearly showed the party would be making further gains in the next Irish general election.
The Sinn Fein man had temporarily stepped away from his post as Deputy First Minister in order to contest the election – handing over the reins to Education Minister John O’Dowd.
Mr McGuinness said that his return had been “seamless”.